She Played Drucilla on "The Young and the Restless." See Victoria Rowell Now at 63.
The soap opera star made headlines for suing the companies behind the show.
Victoria Rowell starred as Drucilla, a runaway teen who eventually becomes a business mogul, on The Young and The Restless from 1990 until she first left the show in 2000, and then again from 2002 to 2007. The actor began her career as a ballet dancer, much like her character. She had roles in the movie Leonard Part 6 and on TV shows including The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Cosby Show, and As The World Turns before booking the soap opera character she'd play for the next decade.
She continued to work on other projects during her time on The Young and the Restless. Some of her more notable credits throughout the 1990s and early 2000s include playing an FBI agent in Dumb & Dumber, "The Girl in the Park" in the Boyz II Men video for "On Bended Knee," Cora D alongside Pamela Anderson in Barb Wire, and Amanda Bentley-Livingston in Diagnosis: Murder. Read on to find out why the former soap star took on the network behind The Young and the Restless and what she's been up to in the years since moving on from the series for good.
She sued CBS.
After being written off The Young and the Restless in 2000, Rowell reprised her role from 2002 to 2007, when she departed again amid some controversy. The actor had become frustrated by the lack of diversity in front of and behind the camera at the soap opera. Despite the attempts she claimed she made to make the show more equitable, including rewriting lines for her character and putting herself forward (unsuccessfully) to direct episodes, Rowell was still interested in returning to the show as Drucilla after 2007. According to The Hollywood Reporter, she sued CBS, Sony Pictures Television, and other entities behind The Young and the Restless in 2015, alleging that the show's refusal to rehire her was retaliation for her speaking out. A CBS statement to THR accuses the actor of "attempting to rewrite that history" and concluded with, "We harbor no ill will toward Ms. Rowell, but we will vigorously defend this case."
Also in 2015, a judge dismissed her claims but left the door open for Rowell to file again with more proof, as reported by THR. The actor brought a revised suit forward in 2017, but it was settled before it could go to court. THR notes that a source claimed that Rowell did not receive a financial settlement from the defendants.
In 2018, former CBS chairman Les Moonves stepped down from his position after a flurry of accusations of sexual misconduct. Rowell tweeted at the time, ""And I have never used my position to hinder the advancement or careers of women," Moonves responded. #LIAR your loafer heel has been on my neck for over 11 years all because I cited lack of substantive diversity at CBS behind the camera #MeToo #RetaliationIsIllegal #Bully."
She works behind the camera now.
Rowell continues to act, appearing in shows including Single Ladies, Law & Order: SVU, and The Bay, as well as several TV movies. Her most recent roles were in the 2020 movies Black Kids White Mama and Birdie and the 2022 TV series Good Sam. But her most significant role at the moment is playing Kitty Barringer on the streaming series, The Rich & The Ruthless, because she also writes and produces the show. The series, which pulls from Rowell's background, is a drama about soap stars and executives who fight to get their show back on the air after cancellation, and she described it in 2014 as "Soap Dish meets Anchorman meets 30 Rock." The fourth season premiered on BET+ last year.
Rowell has also produced the movies What Love Will Make You Do and Jacqueline and Jilly, as well as the upcoming Blackjack Christmas.
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She's also an author.
In 2008, Rowell's memoir was released. Titled The Women Who Raised Me, it's largely focused on her experience growing up in the foster system. In addition to writing about her life, the star is also the author of a a soapy book series, which her BET+ series is loosely based on. Secrets of a Soap Opera Diva was published in 2010, and The Young and the Ruthless followed in 2013.
She supports foster children.
When she's not working on her various artistic passions, Rowell is advocating for children in the foster system. She founded the Foster Children Positive Plan, which offers scholarships to arts and sports programs as well as other opportunities to foster children, in 1990. She's spoken about the cause on many talk shows and raised awareness through other events and appearances. And in 2005, Rowell received an honorary doctorate from The University of Southern Maine for her foundation's work. She continues to speak out on behalf of foster kids on both her Instagram and Twitter accounts.
The actor has two children of her own. She shares a daughter named Maya with first husband Tom Fahey, who she married in 1989. The couple divorced a year later. She later welcomed a son named Jasper with musician Wynton Marsalis. Then, in 2009, Rowell married artist Radcliffe Bailey. The couple didn't welcome any children and split in 2014.